List price: $7.95|
Average customer rating:
5.0 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0571066240
Manufacturer : Faber & Faber|
Release data : June, 1966
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"Reality, looked at steadily, is unbearable."
I read on Wikipedia that Lewis had originally released this book under a pseudonym, N.W. Clerk. But, as it happened, so many of his friends recommended it to him as a way to deal with his own grief that he finally decided to publish it under his own name. I do not know if that was actually true, but it makes a great story. He wrote this book after his wife, Joy, died of cancer.
A Grief Observed is one of those books that get recommended in the aftermath of a death. In my case, I think of the books about loss as being divided into two categories: the dead baby books and the "oh god why" books. This is an "oh god why" book.
My flippancy does not do Lewis any real justice. It is recommended for many good reasons. I am sure that there will be a day when I find myself handing a copy to someone I love who is trying to make sense of what they are going through. But I still find myself wanting to be flippant in this review. It is a difficult book to read, and nearly as difficult to talk about in a public forum like this one. I had made the mistake of reading it during a long train ride-- wiping the tears away with the collar of my winter coat.
I would not call it a comfort to read, exactly. I guess that my own grief is still too raw. But he gets it right. He gets the physical arc of grief. He gets the ways in which it changes over time. He gets the way in which loss like this changes and illuminates the nature of the personal relationship that you have with the divine.
What I like most is that Lewis does not pull his punches. He does not find himself falling back on the kind of false homilies with which so many treat the death of a loved one. He is not easy on himself, nor is he easy on God. I recognize the bitter anger in so many of these pages. I also recognize the hopeless love for the dead-- the realization that you are lifting your hands to nothing except imagination and the unknown.
A Grief Observed
A Grief Observed is probably C.S. Lewis' finest book. Read it and find out why - whether you are in a state of grief or not.
This is one of the author's best books because it is intended for mature audiences. Those children's books are for the little boy of both sexes who never grew up. This is for people that want to get something out of it, not sit at home with kids all day and get fat and depressed their whole life. To aid the reader in times of grief. I'm still grieving over these men with a few cents to their name thinking their rich- not paying taxes, not buying groceries, but keeping up with the times. Well, it's over. They couldn't keep up with the times, wanting something right here right now. And right now I want something that will keep me from going to jail and in debt and keep my mind off drugs.